Wednesday, 24 August 2011

I fell out of bed

I don't know what you were thinking,
But then I never know what you're thinking,
Unknowable, oh so inscrutable,
And, lucky you, unfailingly beautiful,
I'll put you on a pedestal,
But doing so I must confess,
If I put you on a pedestal,
It's so I can see up your dress,

I fell out of bed,
Cause of all the ideas in my head,

I never thought it could happen,
That a healthy heart could be flattened,
I find I'm writing pop lyrics,
As a way to lift my spirits,
And I never thought I'd be writing,
Of the eternal feminine,
A treatise on gender panic,
With none of the swear words left in,

I fell out of bed,
Cause of all the ideas in my head,

We two sitting dumbly,
Trying to read each other's thoughts,
Shoving all my crosses,
Into your row of noughts,
You would think we were mummies,
Tongues torn out at the root,
A pair of fun sarcopha-guys,
Wrapped up in our bandage suits,




Throw your arms around the world

Got a lot of love to give you but I need to get a little back,
Make a lot of very poor decisions and I let my chin grow slack,
The world is way beneath me, I wear these gilded wings,
Can't keep it all together, sellotape and pins,
I know you want to take it further but I've always been a dozy sort,
Working without map or compass I'm always lost in thought,
Suspended in the mistral my feet don't touch the ground,
Like an old toothpaste commercial, heaven bound,

Throw your arms around the world.

You know that I'm intoxicated, or my inner ears gone wrong,
Can't keep from keeling over, can't keep my trousers on,
The day is way beneath me; mundane, quotidian,
I'm basking in the warmth of your reflection,
Standing over the precipice, the abyss looks into me,
The way it coughs and stutters, I'm not sure what it sees,
The world is way beneath me, no thoughts of suicide,
You're not on earth forever, enjoy the ride,

Throw your arms around the world,

What is a man?

Slugs and snails,
Breath that's stale,
Hard bitten nails,
On wandering hands,
He lies when he smiles,
And he smiles with his eyes,
And his smile is a mile,
Of broken ground,

Tell me if you can,
What is a man?

Knows what he wants,
Nose out of joint,
As he presses the point,
Home or away,
Running on empty,
Water-logged, sedimentary,
The chain handle tempts me,
To flush him away,

Tell me if you can,
What is a man?

She's pricked and pinned by Cecil Beaton,
He masks her face to find the beauty within,
She thinks love is eating or being eaten,
And the deepest part of a man is his skin

Get me back on my knees again

Gonna tell you a story about a man named John,
Camp old nonsense like a "Carry On",
A much better painter than Paul Simenon,
But sagging like wet dough,
Self-absorbed like a shop-soiled Tampax,
As grey and distance as a telescope with cataracts,
Keep your bum-bags but ditch your anoraks,
Feed him beer, watch him go,

Now I'm defeated babe,
Get me back on my knees again,

Gonna lend you some money, buy up your goodwill,
Cause he has more money that you ever will,
Has a gun in his pocket and fingers in the till,
And a ring on every finger,
His eyes are hollow and his lips are full,
Skin like savlon, hair like wool,
Been nailed more times than a Papal Bull,
Did I mention he's a singer,

Now I'm defeated babe,
Get me back on my knees again,

A modern fantasist, like a tumour on a tin-can,
Arrivest archivist; post-modern bin-man,
Flash Harry in a dirty mac,
Lock up the doubters, Johnny's back,

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Empty Jester

Empty Jester

I’m smiling on the lip of the abyss,
What can I possibly think about all this?
I don’t look down when I can look up,
But there’s nothing at the bottom or the top,

The grin on the bridge of a moth’s back,
The smiling eyes are empty and black,
The hollows twinkle, a well in space,
Skull white like the light on your face,

Here’s another empty jester,
A line of ash runs the length of my tongue,
Words ring as hollow as a single gold band,
There’s nothing to say now that you’ve gone,

I’m laughing while the joke is on me,
Tears flow freely in company,
Later the bedroom seems to be so empty,
Your pillow lying lengthwise next to me,

Like Hamlet’s famous dummy,
Empty headed with a trap-door jaw,
Alas, in Wonderland, I knew her well,
Can’t say I know her any more,


Here’s another empty jester,
A line of ash runs the length of my tongue,
Words ring as hollow as single gold band,
There’s nothing to say now that you’ve gone




So Haunt Me

So Haunt Me

I’ve always lived with ghosts,
In every book I’ve ever read,
Leafing clammily through M.R. James’,
Curdling stories of creeping dread,

In every film I’ve ever sat through,
Strange apparitions are bound to appear,
“A Christmas Carol” is my favourite Dickens,
“Hamlet” is always the best Shakespeare,

So haunt me, please haunt me,
Melt into the room in a bed-sheet please,
Haunt me, just haunt me,
I want my hairs to prickle and my blood to freeze,
Haunt me, please haunt me,
I haven’t had enough of you yet, you see,

You haunt me every day, anyway,
I hear your voice, see your smiling face,
Your dressing gown on the back of the bath-room door,
It’s you, not your stuff, I want about the place,

Your clothes are still in the cupboards,
I can still just feel your touch,
Come back and put the wind up me,
I just miss you so very much,

So haunt me, please haunt me,
Melt into the room in a bed-sheet please,
Haunt me, just haunt me,
I want my hairs to prickle and my blood to freeze,
Haunt me, please haunt me,
I haven’t had enough of you yet, you see,




The Heart of Melancholy

The Heart of Melancholy

Here in,
The heart of melancholy,
I can’t see out,
To the mother you’ll never be,
The mountains of Mourn,
Rendered so sketchily,
Scrublands are scumbled,
And scratched out finally,

I’ll see you in the long grass,
With your black hair,
And your dark eyes,
I’ll see you in the long grass,
With your pale skin,
And your dark eyes,

Hearing;
The art of melancholy,
Words fall out,
Of mouths that so readily,
Talk of smiling and angels,
Land so heavy, messily,
Worm-casts on sand,
Emptied out faecally,

I’ll see you in the long grass,
With your black hair,
And your dark eyes,
I’ll see you in the long grass,
With your pale skin,
And your dark eyes,

Witless,
The arsehole of brevity,
Takes my hand,
But never once looks at me,
“Comes to us all”,
I goggle incredibly,
The fuckers a hundred,
Why can’t it be he?

I’ll see you in the long grass,
With your black hair,
And your dark eyes,
I’ll see you in the long grass,
With your pale skin,
And your dark eyes,

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Black Sails

Found her and I married her,
Just in time to,
Watch her fall away,
And I’m cradling the pain,

He waits,
Waits for her return,
Candles gutter as they burn,
He waits,
The old man of the sea,
Black sails ahead of me,

Kicking through the sea-spume,
Doomed and waiting,
For that one black sail,
A hard point against the grey,
Squatting underneath the sun,
A pin-prick sticks,
The needle in the vein,
To carry her away,

He waits,
Waits for her return,
Candles gutter as they burn,
He waits,
The old man of the sea,
Black sails ahead of me,

Skies are bruising,
Dark sails ripple,
Moving now,
Moving nearer,

Darkness spreading,
Over waters,
Bleeding black,
Bleeding darkness,

Stephane Prix-D'Escalier

As I was walking down the stair,
I met a man, who wasn’t there,
I said you must be that esprit d’escalier everyone is always going on about…

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

You can't argue with a chicken bone

Here's a song written for whatever the post-Red Atlas Red atlas are called. (it's Si and Ian and possibly Martin). Si's turned out to be a pretty good singer and impressed at the "Oi Garcon" gig to celebrate/commiserate Ailsa's leaving London. His version of Silver Jews' "Random Rules" was assured and charming and made me want to write songs for him*. So here's a sweet country number about the divination of the future by chicken bones(a type of cleromancy). I think it will be just right his droll delivery.


*Though obviously his baby-momma and wife Jess is the real power behind the throne natch...


You can’t argue with a chicken bone


Yesterday day I was sat at home,
Divining the future with chicken bones,
I’m a fool but I’m no dreamer,
I saw your face in those chicken femurs,

I wanted to wait to tell you,
But my “wait” problem is well known,
You can mock when I talk about destiny,
But you can’t argue with a chicken bone,
And when I tried to reach you,
I had no credit for the phone,
Crossed lines, crossed wires, crossed destinies,
But you can’t argue with a chicken bone,

They called you “the party bucket”,
I think I died a little inside,
Didn’t help that your ass was tattooed,
With a sign saying “park and ride”,
I’m a million miles away,
Can’t get any reception here,
All I got is a lucky chicken’s foot,
To remind me of you my dear,

I wanted to wait to tell you,
But my “wait” problem is well known,
You can mock when I talk about destiny,
But you can’t argue with a chicken bone,
And when I tried to reach you,
I had no credit for the phone,
Crossed lines, crossed wires, crossed destinies,
But you can’t argue with a chicken bone,

(middle four)

I chickened out that first night,
The stigmas with me still,
Found a chicken on my pillow,
A bitter morning-after pill,

I know you’ll think this a paltry confession,
I want to show you that I’ve learned my lesson
I’m a fool but I’m no dreamer,
I saw your face in those chicken femurs,

I wanted to wait to tell you,
But my “wait” problem is well known,
You can mock when I talk about destiny,
But you can’t argue with a chicken bone,
And when I tried to reach you,
I had no credit for the phone,
Crossed lines, crossed wires, crossed destinies,
But you can’t argue with a chicken bone,













Monday, 20 June 2011

Orphans

Here are some songs that I wrote for Martin's new band "Blonde Moments" (terrible name!) the girl band that he has been dreaming of for a long time. The brief was a bit confusing as I was advised to not be too clever and to write for a modern indie sound. I obviously failed as he has yet to comment upon them or use them for his band. I'm not sure it's his loss - they're not great. But then they're not great on purpose.

I like the last one best...but then it's the most like something I would write anyway.


Isabelline

Hey honey, do you know what love’s like?
A chill moon on a winter’s night,
Whiskey jitters by the crashing waves,
Will soon show you how the heart behaves,
Hey baby, do you know what love’s for?
Two fingers flicked against a war,
A paper hat against the deluge,
A fool’s fortress and a reckless refuge,

Isabelline,
She’s the ghost in the machine,
Isabelline,
She’s the ghost in the machine,

Hey sugar, how do you heal the pain?
Been picking at the scabs again,
I’ve got scars on both of my palms,
Don’t want to get you up in arms,
Hey angel, don’t look so sad,
You’ll only turn our loving bad,
You know I’ll never put a healthy one down,
Hand me that bag of kittens to drown,

Isabelline,
She’s the ghost in the machine,
Isabelline,
She’s the ghost in the machine,

However do you want me?
That’s the way that I can’t be,
I twist and turn like a hanging man,
Twist and turn away from me,



Cupidity

Oh arrow please, please be true,
Now you know what I want from you,
The penny dropped; it finally got through to me,
You have to save me from my lover’s cupidity,

I’m a cool kid; my draw-back’s my beau,
My friends said, yeah, well we told you so,
Not least in his long list of crimes,
Is he’s seen “Wall Street” fifty times!


So, so long it’s been a pleasure,
So many memories to treasure,
It’s only recently I’ve got your measure,
Bye-bye to your cupidity forever,

(Possible backing vocal of “sell, sell” there, after the “bye, bye” – poss. a bit de trop.)

Your curls and your chubby little cheeks,
You used to make my knees go weak,
You never reminded me then,
Of a contestant on “Dragon’s Den”

I shot an arrow in the air.
What it was worth, I do not care,
All I desire of these darts you see,
Is ripping holes in your cupidity,


So, so long it’s been a pleasure,
So many memories to treasure,
It’s only recently I’ve got your measure,
Bye-bye to your cupidity forever,




Entryism


Is there a hole in my heart?
Or a polo-mint in my breast pocket?
Whatever the pain is insane,
And only you can stop it,

If I were to say to you,
Will you always be mine and forever?
This isn’t love on the dole,
It’s love on the never-never,


Never gonna give you up,
Never gonna stop loving you,
Never gonna give you up,
To the Inland Revenue,
My heart is true and my aim too,
So you know it’s true,
I need to be with you,

Baby there’s a hole in my head,
And that’s what I need you like,
Love is a job of work,
So you’d better get on your bike,

You’re the one I’ll always turn to,
Cause you’re the one who’s always there,
The crutch beneath my armpit,
The banister by the stair,

Never gonna give you up,
Never gonna stop loving you,
Never gonna give you up,
To the Inland Revenue,
My heart is true and my aim too,
So you know it’s true,
I need to be with you,






(yeah, if anything that’s worse. Though the chorus has a certain Black Lace quality to it)








We Come To the End


It’s the drip, drip, drip,
As your fingers slip mine,
I want you to know,
That I’d never cut the line,
When the pain is too great,
I’ll think of you in better days,
The sudden splash of summer,
That your eyes betray,

Is that all? Just a trick of the light,
The flash of head-lamps in the night,

We look into the mirror and we try to pretend,
But we both know when that we come to the end,
I jumbled up the words; I’m about to press “send”,
But we both know when that we come to the end,

I sweep back the cover,
And I crack the spine,
I read the dedication,
And I know it’s not mine,
How could you leave me?
In a house full of stuff,
I remember a time,
It belonged to us.

That’s what a sincere love will bring,
A box-room full of boxes of things,


We look into the mirror and we try to pretend,
But we both when that we come to the end,
I jumbled up the words; I’m about to press “send”,
But we both know when that we come to the end,


It was a long good-bye,
And if I’m honest not unexpected,
Like rubbish left out at night,
I’m both cool and collected,
There’s nothing to deal with here,
A central negation; a heart-shaped vacuum,
A life without a spark,
Dead and buried, alone in a back-room,

Monday, 9 May 2011

Cliff Diving

This one sounds a bit thin in context now but is a perfectly effective 80's pop tune with some tasty Duran Duran brit-funk guitar from Doug (and some tasty everything else from Doug, really). My offering is a bit meage here but the lyrics have some appalling puns and excrutiating rhymes so it's business as usual really...


I may be suffering from dementia,
As I pursue this Posiedon adventure,
Slipping under the ocean like a stone,
But I'm not going fishing,
I'm on a fact-finding mission,
Trying to find the crab's base on my own,

And it's dark, so very dark,

With the surface so far above me,
Come on in the water's lovely,

Once that surface tension's broken,
I'm free, free to be me,
Under the sea,
And with that undulating motion,
I'm free, free to be me,
Under the sea,

I'm not unaware of the danger,
There's a dog-fish in the manger,
With the sort of claws,
That are a liability,
But the sea gives a sense of freedom,
Albeit one with one with rocks and weeds in,
With a powerful undertow,
Of liberty,

And it's dark,
So very dark,

Got my confidence in the water,
I won't be like a lamb going to the slaughter,


Once that surface tension's broken,
I'm free, free to be me,
Under the sea,
And with that undulating motion,
I'm free, free to be me,
Under the sea,

But what's this?
Labarynthine caves,
An under-water maze,
And who's this?
Behind these rocks and boulders,
A plethora of crabby dozers,
And as I hide behind these rocks,
Here's a sentry with his eyes on stalks,

Bartholomew's Fare

This and Drinking constitute the breakaway pop-hits from the The Night of the Crabs. Which is odd because they are rather unconventional tunes; the former a music hall folly and this a folk ballad or shanty. That said it's
one hell of an ear-worm, with those shimmering weed fronds singing backing vocals and that shimmering African pop guitar on the chorus.

The title is a three fold pun: it riffs on the ancient London fair held on the 24th of August within the precincts of the Priory at West Smithfields. But also at this point in the stories narrative, and rather pointedly by the end of the song, Bartholomew becomes "fare" (in the sense of "fine fare") for the crabs. And lastly it's the price he pays for being deformed and disabled in Guy N Smith's peculiar world; where Pat thinks he's evil and Cliff genuinely considers shooting him because he's ugly. It's the ugliness that forces him to live on the beach and puts him in the front-line of the crustacean/human war. Lastly I hope he has his fare for Charon the ferryman to deliver him over the river Styx. Which as we know is just down the coast from Barmouth.

See, I don't just throw these things together. That's craft mate. You think puns just happen?


Oh my name is Bartholomew,
And don't let me collar you,
Cause I'm so very hard on the eyes,
My body is twisted, my palms often blistered,
From combing the beaches at night,
My teeth are ill-fitting,
My brows always knitting,
Though it looks like my stitches have dropped,
And the stench of putrescence,
Is my oily essence,
I stink like a squid gone to pot,

But I'm happy, I'm so happy,
Patrolling the beaches at night,
Flotsam and Jetsam; when I want some, I get some,
And who is to say I'm not right?

Oh my name is Bartholomew,
And don't let me follow you,
Cause I have an agenda concealed,
My secret passion is the splishing and splashing,
Of tanned lady tourists, un-peeled,
Their hot golden hides,
Hips narrow or wide,
Their bosoms that jiggle and bounce,
My ony goal when I go on a stroll,
Is tallying big nipple counts,

But I'm happy, I'm so happy,
Patrolling the beaches at night,
Flotsam and Jetsam; when I want some, I get some,
And who is to say I'm not right?


Oh my name is Bartholomew,
But don't ever holler "You!",
Cause on top of it all I'm quite deaf,
It's the thing that hurts most,
I'm as deaf as a post,
It'll probably contribute to my horrible death,
To give you an example, If I were to be trampled,
By a giant crustacean horde,
I'd not know a thing, till I'm sliced up real thin,
In fact it's just happened...Good LORD!

Hangover Hospital & Chicken in a Box that you Eat on the Bus

Well I've excused The Nude Scientists previously so you know what you're getting but I mean really...there is no excusing song number two here! Number two being appropriate. Radio-4-Mitch-Benn-Middle-class-middle-aged-smugness-by-numbers and, unforgivably, not that funny. But then...the chorus really works as a sort of shield-battering call to arms and really I used to hate those little fuckers when I lived in London. So fuck 'em.


Oh my my aching head,
As I resolve to get out of bed,
My tongues as dry as Ghandi's sandal,
Hanging on to the toilet's handle,
Why do we do it to ourselves?
Joylessly sinking pint after pint,
My teeth are veined with purple stains,
Monday's Valpolicella night,

I wish that there was a hangover hospital,
Where a normal life lived was sort of possible,
I could dry out, try out for the human race,
Leave behind this state of disgrace,

I run a razor over my tongue,
My nose is crusty and my eyes are stung,
My hands are shaking and here come the sweats,
My skin is yellow and it's sopping wet,
The bathroom floor is an oasis of calm,
But my stomach won't let me be,
Lurching forward with mounting alarm,
I grab the loo seat like a steering wheel


I wish that there was a hangover hospital,
Where a normal life lived was sort of possible,
I could dry out, try out for the human race,
Leave behind this state of disgrace,

Doctor, Doctor please come quick,
It's not natural to feel this sick,
You've got to help me to shake this disease,
"Son I'm not sure you can meet my fees,"
I can take the empties back to the shop,
And I'm collecting all the bottle-tops,
"Let me tell you son what I'm thinking,
Your best bet is to give up drinking!"



Chicken in a box that you eat on a bus

Hot date over on the estate,
Oh how to get there - I don't want to be late,
I'm looking bare good,
You can see my pants from space,
The only thing is,
I haven't fed my face,

Chicken in a box that you eat on the bus,
Chicken in a box that you eat on the bus,
It stinks and it's greasy and it doesn't half smell,
And you can leave it on the bus as litter as well,

I've made an effort,
I'm a ladies man,
I play my tunes on my phone,
And as loud as I can,
And no one better tell me,
I should turn it down,
Ain't grease on my phone,
For you you clown,

Chicken in a box that you eat on the bus,
Chicken in a box that you eat on the bus,
It stinks and it's greasy and it doesn't half smell,
And you can leave it on the bus as litter as well,

I tuck my trackies,
Into my trainers,
Wear my gusset,
Down to my knee,
Walk like i've been buggered,
In a prison shower,
And nobody can say to me,
This isn't cool,
Or this isn't chic,
Or that I dress,
Like a mental defective,
Looking as shit as possible,
Is the teenage prime directive,

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Child Stars

...in a continuing series entitled "Poor man's Luke Haines" John commemorates the death of someone he has never met by writing a song all about himself. Slow hand-clap to fade....



Desperate times call for desperate measures,
So make mine a double, a triple, a pint,
Corey Haim never made it to forty,
I'm drinking to child stars tonight,
I saw MacCauley Culkin in the theatre,
Cast alongside Irene Jacob,
The oddest pairing I had ever witnessed,
He spoke like he had marbles in his gob,

Child star where did it all go right,
Was it simply dimples, were your teeth always so white?
Your'e dead and buried but the films live on,
And i have to live with these songs,

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Paraquatsi!

Difficult not to give the plot away here but the likelihood of Night of the Crabs ever being produced is slimmer Stephen Merchant's cock. However, if it should be produced, please look away now as this song is plot, Plot, PLOT! Basically Cliff comes up with a plan to pour corrosive chemicals out of a helicopter and onto the marauding crabs (and onto the Welsh countryside). Bear in mind the book was written in the late 70s before we new that pouring poisons onto land and sea was a bad thing to do! Be thankful we live in more enlightened times. And pray god we never have to face an army of giant crabs!

This is my friend Gwen's favourite song. From the musical, not of all time. She's not mad!


I don't want a swollen head,
But I've an idea to make crabs dead,
The inspiration though was Pat,
Let's be very clear on that,
Whilst glancing through the Daily Mail,
A headline made her go quite pale,
A kiddie drank some paraquat,
Thinking that his squash was flat,
Sad to say the kiddie died,
But if that same poison was applied,
To Crustacean regicide,
Wouldn't that be justified,

Poison, airborne poison,
Destroys 'em,
Utterly destroys 'em,
Look and see them running scared,
Absolutely unprepared,
For poison, airborne poison,

(spoken) "Look, the bastards are running away!"

Poison, airborne poison,
Destroys 'em,
Utterly destroys 'em,
Look and see them running scared,
Absolutely unprepared,
For poison, airborne poison,

The Moon in the Dunes

The seduction scene from Night of the Crabs originally had slightly different, more, er, explicit words. So I dropped them as I am a fearful prude. Even though I'd written them in the first place. The replacement words are better anyway, giving the song a time and a place and adding a sense of verisimilitude. To a song about giant crabs attacking the Welsh coast.



You caught me off guard,
Keeping watch in the dunes,
And already my cords,
Are playing a tune,
A sensual samba,
A straight tarantella,
So tell me Pat,
Do you have a fella?

...Oh that's right he left you

We make love under,
The moon in June,
The moon is above,
And I, I am under you,
Isn't it sad that,
The the sand is abrasive,
And just like the crabs,
So very invasive,

One moment of bliss,
With the cosmos we're one,
I light up a cigarette,
And think, well that was fun,
We lie there in awe,
Barely daring to speak,
And I wonder how,
Tottenham Hotspur,
Are doing this week,

...Terry Neil's past his peak,


We make love under,
The moon in June,
The moon is above,
And I, I am under you,
Isn't it sad that,
The the sand is abrasive,
And just like the crabs,
So very invasive,



Monday, 25 April 2011

The Last Red Atlas Song

But this is the last Red Atlas song. I can't remember if it ever had a tune (looking at its atypical structure I suspect not). The stench of self-hatred is pretty strong here. I should open a window.

Don’t trust yourself
You will trip you up

If you pulled back that cowl,
The waxy skin, the stippled jowls,
The spectre of mortality,
Would look a lot like you and me,

A slow start in the morning,
Angry coughing in the cold,
Dry bones crack like kindling,
The mirror yawns: you’re old,

Don’t trust yourself,
You’re a traitor.
Every autobiography must have,
An unreliable narrator,
Don’t trust yourself,
You’re death’s collaborator,
Lord Haw- Haw reads the eulogy,
From squares of sugar paper,

A New Emperor and Stage Clothes

These two fun items have the dubious distinction of being the last songs I wrote for Red Atlas. The last ones, certainly, that made it as far as having tunes and parts that most of the band-members agreed on. They were actually pre-written pieces of music from individual members of the band (or possibly both were written by Si). As previously mentioned the Red Atlas song-writing approach was entropy; the gradual erosion of dignified silence into screeds of noise over which I intone nonsense words which ultimately graduate into a sort of shopping-list of rebukes (general) and disgust (mainly self). As such the formation of songs comes over periods of time that would get Professor Brian Cox tapping his foot in frustration. Fearing that my time on earth was ending I attempted to giddy-up the process and requested each member of the band write a song. In the end only Si obliged with these two snippets. (To be fair to Martin he often attempted to get songs of his own into the set and to little avail - I never knew why - he's a prolific and, eek, populist song-writer. The marriage of his song-writing style and the band's (his fierce creative energy and the band's crafty, detailed honing) should have been a brilliant stylistic fit. But it wasn't.

So these are the last two songs proper from Red Atlas. What are they about? Well, god, it's the usual stuff isn't it? A New Emperor is about death and failure and as such could as easily be a Club of Queer Trades song. Stage Clothes is about...well it doesn't really need picking apart does it?



A New Emperor

Life’s slipping through your fingers,
Frictionless and fast,
The future is an exclusive post code,
That’s why I live in the past,
Under-valued and undertaken,
Under six feet of earth,
Held in aspic, a preservation
Of the things you thought you were worth,

When I said that the sky was falling,
It was never meant as a warning,
They will bow to a new emperor today,
Stand up; it’s far too late to pray,

You never knew what it was that hit you,
No registration plate,
No distinguishing characteristics,
On the shirt-tails of fate,
You can’t plan when the drawing board,
Is in bits upon the floor,
Never hope or dream or yearn cause,
Life is a slamming door,

When I said that the sky was falling,
It was never meant as a warning,
They will bow to a new emperor today,
Stand up; it’s far too late to pray,





Stage Clothes

Washed in the blood of a saint,
I find I’m brilliant,
I accepted it without complaint,
I’ve never been penitent,
I walk abroad in raiment of white,
I fairly dazzle,
Showing off is half the fight,
And I don’t need the hassle,

Stage clothes in the rain,
Nothing washes whiter,
Stage clothes in the rain,
Nothing washes whiter,

Take me down to the river,
Wash me in the mud,
No grudges, I’m a forgiver,
Lend us an armful of blood,
Lie for lie, truth for truth,
Pound my flesh,
Never knowingly over exposed,
No thought unexpressed,





Fleance (as played by Keith Chegwin in Roman Polanski's "The Tragedy of MacBeth or "The Scottish Film")

Bit of a long title that one. Possibly trying to win a bet. I don't really remember who this would have been presented to, possibly CQTs as Martin was getting everything I was writing at that time. Though it doesn't really fit that idiom. Maybe Knock-Knock or Nude Scientists then; it's pretty academic at this point.

More Morrissey kicking.


Fleance (as played by Keith Chegwin in Roman Polanski’s “The Tragedy of MacBeth or “The Scottish Film”)

“He has killed me, mother”
Is a line that Morrissey,
Would probably have killed for,
Passive-aggressively,

But those Northern tones were never his,
But Cheggers’ off the telly,
Gambolling in his empty hose,
A bare-bodkin in his belly,

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Petomane

Celebrating 100 years of Petomane:

Petomane: Imperial Blether

Petomane: Victims of Pop and Circumstance

Petomane: Like Shrapnel Shifting

Petomane: God Help Us If There's A War

Petomane: Dad's Army of Lovers

Petomane: The No-Fixed-Abode-Guard

Petomane: Going Against The Groin

Petomane: Growing Old Gratingly

Petomane: Can't Work The Video

Petomane: Puts the Egg Under the Hen

Petomane: Art Pamphleteers

Petomane: No Cure for Cankers

Petomane: Soiling Gift Underwear This Christmas

Petomane: A Kiosk of Sound

Petomane: Pop's Grumbling Appendix

Petomane: What do you get if you put James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and Dylan Moran into a blender? It wouldn't happen. You wouldn't get a blender that big. Well alright some sort industrial blender might fit the bill but then you've got other problems. Joyce and Wilde did cross-over in terms of life-span but they could hardly be called contemporaries and Dylan Moran wasn't born for decades after their deaths. And if you put Moran in a blender with the remains of these two literary giants, well you'd basically have the smoothified remains of Moran and, at best, the skeletal shards of the other two, possibly one or two strands of hair still clinging tenaciously to Joyce's eviscerated skull; if you're lucky and depending on whether the blender is set to chunky or smooth. I think you're going to end up with a ragu-like mixture; with the occasional porridgey lump of literary giant or an above average comedian. What possible use could this cocktail of carnality be to anyone? And how could it possibly be an accurate description of an electric pop-tet. And why are they all Irish anyway, you racist bastard?

You Again

The Nude Scientists: songs going gently into that dark night


You Again

Talk to the hand,
The face ain't listening,
It's weeping now and really pissing,
Off my wife, initiating divorces,
Take it outside, it's scaring the horses,
It's cracked ans cratered like a lunar landscape,
A bye-bye to good times like a golden handshake,
It fosters regret and self-disgust,
A salve to succour; an antidote to lust,

Oh why am I so ugly,

Oh no, not you again,
Every time I shave,
It's that paragon of men (old, old and in the way),
Just behave won't you,

The rheumy eyes no longer sparkle,
Want a reason to smile but I've got fuck all,
The stippled jowels,the complexion soapy,
Got more crows feet than a hokey-cokey,
Where once I bathed in the dew of youth,
Now I'm downing 60 proof,
I'm short on temper and long on tooth,
With a dirty basement and a snowy roof,

Oh why am I so ugly,

Oh no, not you again,
Every time I shave,
It's that paragon of men (old, old and in the way),
Just behave won't you,

Saturday, 9 April 2011

The Deep, Deep Sleep of England

Here's a Red Atlas one and for my money one of the best songs that we ever wrote. It remains pretty galling that we never successfully translated these things into decent recordings or effective live-gigs. It really is hard to say how great this band was - there is no evidence to support the claim. Nevertheless on occasion it was great.

Lyrically this is well into my "women are spooky, other-worldly beings, ultimately unknowable and treachrous, but, y'know, a nice shape" period. Amazingly I was in my late thirties, not my late teens!

The song is also about the mystery and lore of terrible old Britain, the weight of its old bones. The title is from Orwells's "Homage to Catalonia" and the opening is in part a reference to Ben Thompson's "Beef and Liberty". The body of the verse is a murder with no mystery and the occasional nod to a dimly remembered "The Ghost of Thomas Kempe" and Katharine Brigg's "Abbey Lubbers, banshees and boggarts".

(In fact an early version of Red Atlas was called The Lubbers. Until we weren't.)


The Deep, Deep Sleep of England

The deep sleep of England,
Sweet dreaming England,
Dozing and Dappled,
Leading by Example,

The deep sleep of England,
Dark satanic England,
Boiled beef and Liberty
Bucolic misery,

The deep sleep of England,
Imagined England,
Carry on and keep calm,
Can I be excused ma’am,

The deep sleep of England,
Mysterious England,
Ancient and monstrous,
Hiding your secrets,

The deep sleep of England,
Sweet dreaming England,
Dozing and dappled,
Leading by example,

Her hair was awfully long,
Her eyes were awfully pretty ones,
I know she hasn’t forgotten me,
It’s taken ten years of therapy,
Her life was always mine to take,
And I would take it for heavens sake,
My spinning this neat planchette,
Gave her this caveat,

Clay pipe found, underground,
You’ll be groggy, my hot sweet hot toddy,
Childish scrawl on the wall,
This time I cannot kill it
This buttery spirit,







Unfolded on the grass,
The hard edges of her pale limbs,
Looked softer than moss,
Her lips still bruised from kissing,
She makes the teacups fall,
The pictures spin upon the wall,
There’s no happy ever after,
The eaves echo with her laughter,

Clay pipe found, underground,
You’ll be groggy my hot sweet toddy,
Childish scrawl on the walls
This time I cannot kill it,
This buttery spirit,

Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Red Face of Ulster

I live in Belfast now! Not that I've really been out of the the house, barring the welcome party awaiting us as we got off the plane (which left me incapacitated for the next day. The sort of hang-over which turns your teeth to rubber and thwarts all ambition). Since then I've left the house to visit IKEA (wok, loobrush, various bins and about fifty feet of shelving!)and M & S (no booze in the M & S - is this a protestant thing?).

We had a shelf building party after the trip to IKEA - myself, Kelly, Paul and Mo got to work with screw-drivers and inscrutable instructions, rendered in pan-European pictographs - and, as used, when confronted with a practical task I failed utterly and bafflingly. I followed the instructions to the letter and when I righted the thing on the kitchen floor it split at the sides likes Des O'Connor on his sofa. What made it worse was that it wasn't written off - Deidre's boyfriend Chris appeared and, manfully, after alighting his steed, picked the thing apart with a claw hammer and fixed the thing! I have sinced packed my testes in a drawer - I shan't be needing them here.

It's slowly but surely coming together - still bags and boxes everywhere but it's starting to look vaguely as if WE live here. Can't find my phone charger though...still...

Thursday, 17 March 2011

No one reads this.

The only comment on this is from me correcting my own spelling. How depressing is that?

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

It looks like it's all up to me

Last one of these for a while. It's getting depressing typing up all this rubbish.

The army has failed and Cliff Davenport has had enough:


It looks like it's all up to me,

When there's a crisis to address,
The Officers leave us in a mess,
All of you big wigs must agree,
It looks like it's all up to me,

The army sent a couple of chaps,
There's been a crabby bridge collapse,
Who's left searching the debris,
It looks like it's all up to me,

When it comes to using your loaf,
Who do you trust? A bungling oaf?
Or a man with a briar and a college degree,
It looks like it's all up to me,

Some people drive tanks with nuclear fission,
People like that don't share my vision,
Some people wear brass and medals with ribbons,
But in a crab-based crisis they do my bidding,

Of course they do,

Don't talk about military intelligence,
My response would be both curt and inelegant,
I'm annoyed at the army you see,
Cause it looks like its all up to me,

The government to my dismay,
Have done little to ease this aquatic affray,
The depressing conclusion must be,
It looks like it's all up to me,

More dialogue from The Night of the Crabs

Giant Crabs have been terrorising the denizens of Barmouth, a small coastal town in Wales with a big heart. The military have been called in and General Grisedale has called a press conference.

Grisedale: Gentlemen, Gentlemen! Please, If I can have some order. Now I'll be allowing questions one at a time but I must ask you to keep things crab related.

Press Johnny: What can you tell us about reports of giant crabs attacking our coastal defences?

Grisedale: Good question. I can confirm that crabs HAVE been attacking our coastal defences.

Cliff: General, If i might interject...

Grisedale: Ladies and Gentlemen...Dr. Cliff Davenport. (smattering of applause)

Cliff: Gentlemen of the press. And, yes, I see we have one or two ladies here tonight as well. Hello ladies. Gentlemen, the reports have not been exaggerated. I'm an expert in this field and let me tell you these are not ordinary crabs. To use a layman's term of reference these crabs are as big as sheep but their leader, whom I've dubbed "King Crab", well - he's as big as a cow!

(Gasps)

Robson, Examiner: What are the army doing about these so-called giant crabs?

Cliff: Let me be clear. The army has no defences against these crabs. Bullets don't stop them, they just piss them off!

Tindall, Gazette: What can we do about them then? Is humanity doomed?

Cliff: Let's nip these rumours in the bud! (some laughs)Gentlemen this is no laughing matter. What I propose to do is swim down and find the crab's base and destroy it with limpet mines.

Grisedale: Cliff! We haven't discussed this! That's one helluva responsibility.

Cliff: I'm not afraid of responsibility, even if it is a helluva responsibility. I'm an expert in this field General. It has to be me!

More dialogue from Night of the Crabs

...whether you want it or not. Cliff Davenport, salt and pepper marine-biologist and proud own of an aquiline nose, has turned up in Barmouth following the disappearance of his nephew Ian Wright in mysterious circumstances. He stays with Mrs Jones, a Welsh land-lady. (Or lland-llady):

Mrs Jones: Mr Davenport!

Cliff: Please Mrs Jones, you can call me Cliff.

Mrs Jones: And you must call me "Mum".

Cliff: Er...alright.

Mrs Jones: Usual room Cliff? I'm afraid you've caught me at my busy time.

Cliff: I'm not here to relax I'm afraid, Mum. I'm here on grim business. I'm trying to locate my nephew Ian and his girlfriend Julie. Though I know in my heart they're dead. I've a presentiment of doom. I dont know how, I just know: I know they're both date.

Mrs Jones: Oh dear. And I've got some other bad news for you...you'll have to share a dining table.

Cliff: Christ! With whom?

Mrs Jones: Pat Benson, a petite brunette fifteen years your junior. She has pert, firm breasts and is recently divorced from her husband, a rotter.

Cliff: I see...well I suppose if I must I must.
"Beneath the murky waters of the Irish sea something, something infinitely old and terrible, was stirring. Either a monstrous mutation or a creature thrown forward countless millenia by some sort of evolutionary sport; an evil genius now lurked in the briny depths. Waiting. Waiting for the dark. Waiting for the moon. Waiting for the night...of the crabs."

Monday, 28 February 2011

Water Works

More Night of the Crabs gubbins. This is from the start of the musical and features the following ripe introduction:

Julie: Look, there's Shell Island.They say the bathing is super there.
Ian: The bathing is better than here? It's the same water isn't it?
Julie: Ian! You know what I mean!
Ian: Seriously! Is the water wetter? Is it heated? Soothing bubbles?
Julie: It's less exposed...more private.
Ian: Oh...I see. Yes, well, okay then. You're right...there may be "busy bodies" about here. Busy spying on our naked bodies. With field-glasses.
Julie: Race you!
Ian: Oh ho! This could be sexy. Very sexy. That's why I love the seaside. It never fails..."

And the anaemic funk of "Water Works" begins...




Water Works

The smack of sea-salt in the air,
While the sun is gently beating us,
Off come slacks like inhibitions,
Goodbye London, hello lust,
That magic place where dirt meets water,
Middle England locks up its daughters,

If you're having a dry season,
Water works, water works,
And if the sea's not freezing,
Water works, water works,
The old lady and the sea,
Water works, water works,
Erotic possibilities,
Water works, water works


Driving down in my old two-seater,
My girl beside me, shot-gun style,
Hope she's got an itchy trigger finger,
Cause I've not had it in a while,
Her bikini and her small firm breasts,
Sun and sea will do the rest,

If you're having a dry season,
Water works, water works,
And if the sea's not freezing,
Water works, water works,
The old lady and the sea,
Water works, water works,
Erotic possibilities,
Water works, water works

Crab Attack

More from the wonderful and frightening world of Night of the Crabs by The Woods. Another song from the powerful grinding mandibles of King Crab himself. This is his war anthem: he's taking on the Welsh military in no uncertain terms here.

I should point out that the actual songs are available to listen to on The Woods Myspace page. So if you've been wondering what this exotic drivel actually sounds like you can hear practically the entirety of the musical in one foul swoop: http://www.myspace.com/nightofthecrabs

As you were.



Crab Attack,

There's a nasty nip in the air,
A sense of something truly rare,
That ozone heavy ocean breeze,
Pregnant with some fresh unease,
A challenge to the natural order,
A deep-sea army on your border,
Clicking claws and walking side-ways,
And I'd advise you to do like-wise,
Step away the fight's unfair,
There's a nasty nip in the air,

There's a nasty nip in the air,
And there's an army base over there,
Let's destroy it, prove we're best,
There'll be no more convincing test,
We're angry, ugly, bullet-proof,
Lend me your shell-like, here's the truth,
Your weapons aren't fit for purpose,
Against the denseness of my epidermis,
Step away the fight's unfair,
There's a nasty nip in the air,

There's a nasty nip in the air,
And just admit that you're scared,
You've never met someone like me,
The biggest crab in history,
Though honestly there have been,
Giant crabs in pre-Cambrian seas,
But fossil-findings are all at sea,
And it's you that is history,
Step away the fights unfair,
There's a nasty nip in the air,

Crab attack, crab attack, watch my claw for the crab attack,

Go home humans,
You're just useless,
We will suck you,
Till you're juiceless,
We are hardened,
Here and ruthless,
You are squidgy,
Pink and toothless,

A King Considers...

This is my favourite of all of the songs in The Night of the Crabs
. It's King Crab's dark night of the soul, his moment of self-doubt on the eve of war. Unlike Guy N. Smith's original King Crab, ours is a diabolical, scheming genius, with a rich warm baritone not unlike my own (rather a lot of sibilance as befits an arthropod).

Dougs music is BRILLIANT: harpsichord, new-wave guitars and that superb slap-bass figure on the chorus. And, though I say it myself, the internal rhymes and misicality of the words puts this into a class of its own. This one's very good, I think.

See how you get on.

http://www.myspace.com/nightofthecrabs





A King Considers

Sitting here alone in my castle,
I parcel off all sense of doubt,
For life isn't just a rehersal,
And fortunes reversal must be stamped out,
Ruminating on the eternal,
I might start a journal, might start a blog,
Justifying my actions,
To my own satisfaction might be a slog,

But through it all that urgent whisper,
Still; quiet in my head, telling me that I'm bad,
A current ripples through the water,
A steady eddy of unease,
Bringing me to my knees,

Doubt's the King's disease,

It's lonely when you're clever,
I never get to have too much fun,
No one ever gets my jokes or laughs at all my puns,
Is that how I seek a connection?
Seend hawks when I could send doves,
In a game of tyrant top-trumps;
Fear Beats Love

But through it all that urgent whisper,
Still; quiet in my head, telling me that I'm bad,
A current ripples through the water,
A steady eddy of unease,
Bringing me to my knees,

Doubt's the King's disease,

Kill'em all, kill 'em all, kill 'em all sideways,

What can I do but fulminate,
Alone with all my thoughts,
How will history remember me? A Napoleon of sorts,
Again the voices start to sing out,
What right have you to kill,
The power of my own right arm,
The power of my will, renders the voices still.




Two Into One Will Go

The Wedding song from Night of The Crabs. I don't want to give too much of the plot away but the story does contain a wedding. It's toward the end. Dont read too much into that though. Theres all manner of plot twists. And giant crabs.



Two Into One Will Go

Do you take this man,
To have and hold and love and cherish,
Will you take his hand,
And keep on holding till you perish,
Do you take this girl,
In sickness, health or crab invasion,
Sweep her off the shelf,
And treat her nicely on occasion,
Weathring the storm,
In the oil-skins of affection,
Use constancy and tact,
And give up using contraception,
Travel broadens bellies,
So have a happy honeymoon,
Our presentation feature,
Is now listed "Coming Soon",

Proceed with caution down the aisle,
If you are an agorophile,

For two into one will go,
It's called marriage, don't you know,
There'll be fun-times,fooling around,
But now you share one bank-account,
For two into one will go,
You're a unit, you nit, you know,
No more living separate lives,
Now you're husbands, now you're wives,
Two into one WILL go,

I once had a dream,
And you and me, yes we, were in it,
We were lost in space,
The endless cosmos, infinite,
I was bobbing up there,
Rudderless, just like a hippy,
Till you took my arm,
And sloughed off all this entropy,
Taking baby steps,
On the outset of adventure,
Hope you're still with me,
At the onset of dementia,
I hope I won't be over cautious,
Hope I haven't made you nervous,

If infidelity is your thing,
Dont go swapping wedding rings,

For two into one will go,
It's called marriage, don't you know,
There'll be fun-times,fooling around,
But now you share one bank-account,
For two into one will go,
You're a unit, you nit, you know,
No more living separate lives,
Now you're husbands, now you're wives,
Two into one WILL go,



I Know In My Heart He's Dead

Another Woods song, once again from the fabulous, never before seen, musical review and chicken dinner, "Night of the Crabs: a Musical in Three Pincer Movements". This is a song for Pat, the female lead, waiting on the return of the hero Cliff Davenport to return from a crab-culling expedition. I sing this as it was very difficult to convince any women of our aquaintance to join in the spirit of the thing. Women aren't as silly as men, worse luck.

Here's the intro to Night of the Crabs.

"An inhuman mind was formulating plans drawn against us, plans to rule the world; puddle by puddle, pool by pool. An amphibious assault on God's clean earth was under construction. What's that clicking? That lateral scuttle into the shadows? The stench of salt and vinegar? Could it be ...THE NIGHT OF THE CRABS?"

I Know In My Heart He's Dead

While the sun dawns on a new day,
Still this shadow follows me,
Like the French Lieutenant's woman,
I'm still standing staring out to sea,
One single night of passion,
Match-light snatched from the abyss,
Incandescent in the moment,
A pin-prick in the emptiness,

A single nagging thought enter my head,
And I know in my heart he's dead,
Those simple words being left unsaid,
For I know in my heart he's dead,

He was just a man,
Only corduroy and bone,
But he had a nemesis,
To face on his own,
When others went running,
He stood his ground,
He had guile and cunning,
But now he's drowned,

chorus

Our very first date,
A pub called "Davey Jones' Locker",
Seems grimly ironic,
Now he's come a cropper,
Through his submarine death,
He'll be sadly missed,
But it's what he would have wanted,
As a marine-biologist,

Coda

He drifted off to sea,
Leaving no family,
I'd have married him willingly,
If he had just asked it of me,
Late at night standing on the groin,
Soaking wet and so alone,
It's true to say you cant go home,
With a heart as cold as stone,

I'd Rather be Drinking Than Thinking

This is the breakaway pop hit from the Night of the Crabs musical. It's sung by the drunken and ineffectual Colonel Goode, who pitches up in Barmouth in the aftermath of a wave of vicious and baffling crab attacks and does sod all. It comes with the this snatch of the libretto:

Goode: "Who the hell are you?" Cliff: "I'm Cliff Davenport, marine biologist and discoverer of the giant crabs. Who might you be? Colonel, is it?"Goode: Colonel Goode, if it's any business of yours. Now I understand you have a little crustacean problem? Why don't you run along and let my boys deal with it, like a good little civilian." Cliff:"With respect Colonel Goode you don't know what you're dealing with - these are no ordinary crabs." Goode:"Yes. I understand they're bigger. So maybe I'll invite you to the barbeque. There should be plenty to go round. Now why don't you run along?" Cliff:"Colonel, I must protest! I'm an expert in this field...I tell you these crabs are different..." Goode:"And I tell you these aren't the first crabs I've routed, as many an Algerian prostitute can well attest. Then again I was VERY drunk...story of my life I'm afraid..."

You get the idea. Douglas does an extraordinary job with the music here with the barrel-house piano and the marching feet. He's brilliant at putting sounds together...he should get paid for it. Not by me though.


I'd Rather Be Drinking Than Thinking



When I was a young shaver,
A scraper, a fella-me-lad,
I was a boffin, a brainbox,
Just like dear old dad,
Professor Goode's oldest boy,
Nose buried in a book,
But I had an epiphany,
With the first glass of beer I took,

I'd rather be drinking than thinking,
That's what they taught me at school,
I'd rather be drinking than thinking,
Dypsomania is the rule,
Though if you asked me to spell,
I'd call you a damnable fool,
I'd ather be drinking than thinking,
Cause being drunk is cool,

When I joined the army,
In the private's public bar,
An old timer, "Taffy" Tinsley,
Bought me my very first jar,
I gave a sniff suspiciously,
It was gassy as a broken oven,
I held my nose, I took a swig,
And polished off a dozen,

Chorus

That set me of on an Odyssey,
Though I don't have much Greek,
I kid you not, I had a tot,
Seven nights a week,
It's tough on the old bladder,
So I got the doctor in,
He said to me "Now Colonel,
This drinking is a sin,"
I thought "That's quite judgemental,
You hypocratic oaf,"
He looked at me quite sadly and said,
"Colonel, use your loaf,
Your bladder's fucked from drinking muck,
Your kidneys are a quiver,
And judging by your golden tan,
You've buggered up your liver!"
The words went in like tent pegs,
The prognosis looked quite grim,
I eyed the doctor warily, I thought,
"I won't go drinking with him,"

chorus

For boozing is my first love,
And it will be my last,
The bending of your elbow,
The falling on your arse,
Put Pernod in your cider,
It adds a touch of class,
Now which way to the pub son,
I'm on a 12 hour pass,
And mine's a balloon of brandy,
Seeing as how you've asked,

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Belfast and Loose

Just left Kelly at Heathrow, endlessly zig-zagging through customs, looking, in her triangular blue coat and pink hat, like a child's drawing. And about the most perfect thing in the world. I held her all the way down on the train, which went the wrong way, rather difficult for an underground train you'd think and you might be right, but our genius train-driver managed it, detouring via terminal four. But we had plenty of time and the drivers mistake was a chance to claw back some romance from the jaws of misery.

It all went very well; we were unharried and methodical, both areas where I traditionally excel (though Kelly will tell you that I'm more inclined to exhale, heavily and often, like a put upon teenager).It was almost fun except that she's gone and gone for a week. She has requested that I sort out my teeth.

Four years ago when we met it was not my snake hipped dance moves that entranced her (now sadly replacement hip moves) nor the lustrous silver crown adorning my head ( which now resembles the ghost of a hayrick ) but my dazzling smile. My teeth. The teeth that are now fenced off ny the authorities to stop druids attempting to celebrate the solstice at them. My teeth. The teeth that resemble a graveyard where actual teeth are buried. My teeth: the unlucky horse-shoe, the slashed seats in the stalls; the brown cornflakes in the packet. Not so good my teeth but, four years ago...dazzling. What happened? Two things: red wine and bruxism. Which sounds like a Club of Queer Trades song. I suffer from a medical condition called bruxism (street name: teeth-grinding). It sounds harmless enough but the constant erosion of my teeth from nocturnal gurning has left my molars looking a coastal granite shelf. At night I pop in a gum-shield like a dozy boxer. I should have a spitoon by the bed. The red wine is fairly self explanatory. Added to the fifty cups of tea I drink a day and you have a fairly sound basis for my butterscoth smile. I may as well have a plaster stretched over my mouth. I mean they're not Martin Amis bad but put me in a smock and you've got yourself a relief simpleton!

Kelly is very keen on me to get them sorted. My body has taken a bit of a pounding over the last four years and it's becoming increasingly difficult to lick me back into shape - there are no takers on that one. I'm aging in dog years, time-lapse dog years and something needs to be done. She'd like me pretty again. I'll give it a go.

* * * * * * * * * * *

On the way back from Heathrow on the train. An elderly woman gets on at South Kensington. She is dressed from head to foot in fur (she even appears to be wearing fur trousers). She looks like a cross between Joel Grey in Cabaret and Edith Head. An attractive Asian girl opposite me leaps up to offer her a seat (note that I don't). The old woman isn't having it. She insists but the old woman is adamant: she's going to stand. Neither one of them seems willing to back down. They stand either side of the empty seat in a standoff until the Asian girl gets off at Green Park and the old woman immediately sits down in the seat opposite. She smiles at me.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

The Devils of London & Goodbye Stroud Green Road

More Club of Queer Trades songs about London. I had no idea then, of course, that I would be leaving London, and under what circumstances; so these seem like parting shots to me now.

The Devils of London is, of course, a pun on The Devils of Loudon by Aldous Huxley and the the first line puns on the name of the protagonist of that novel Urbain Grandier. So far so pointless. Grandier was played by Oliver Reed in Ken Russell's film version (called simply "The Devils")and that is why the middle eight is entirely constructed of the titles of Oliver Reed films including the Jukebox Jury appearance that Russell saw and which persuaded him to cast him as Debussey.

I'd forgotten I'd done this until I came to type this up and I suppose the real question is: why? No idea.

Stroud Green Road is the high street bisecting Finsbury Park and leads directly onto Crouch Hill where delicious and popular celebrities live (Simon Pegg! David Tennant (though not any more!) Arabella "Does my bum look big in this?" Weir! And Bernard Butler.) The song is my fantasy, and by criminy it IS a fantasy, of moving into that salubrious yummy mummified enclave and breathing the same rarified air as Caitlin Moran and Peter Paphides! Imagine!


The Devils of London

All this urban grandeur,
Black stone books, finger-printed with smut,
If these too, too solid walls could talk,
What would they say to us,
Here's a burly boulevadier,
A neat scar torn across his cheek,
Has a ring on every finger,
A conscience that plays hide and seek,

The devil's in the details,
In the dovetails overhead,
A trumpet sounds and the walls come down,
This is the city of the dead,

A jug of orange with a vodka chaser,
And a pint closing the gap,
Ten to one that he can't make it,
To the bathroom without mishap,
I've seen them all come through here,
My gift of vision doubly strong,
Like Silenus, this drunken prophet,
Admits his losses and is never wrong,

The devil's in the details,
In the dovetails overhead,
A trumpet sounds and the walls come down,
This is the city of the dead,

A right royal flash in the pan,
In this shuttered room with the shattered damned,
No love for Johnny and an angry silence,
A hunting party that ends in violence,
Spasms, venom and days of fury,
Hello London, hello juke box jury


Goodbye Stroud Green Road

I needed a refuge when the floodgates opened,
After the deluge,
You can't trust your friends,
When the port-cullis of fame descends,
I woke up one morning to find myself famous,
And rich as Croesus,
And by the light of a new day dawning,
I ripped my address book into pieces,

So goodbye Stroud Green Road,
It was fun but now I've had my fill,
With all the success I've won,
Now i'm moving up the hill,

My face is so banal, it's everywhere,
On posters and towels,
I'm in the papers everyday,
My clippings library is off the scale,

Please don't get me wrong,
I've lived hand to mouth for so very long,
I've followed so many pursuits,
I'm not entirely sure which one bore fruit,
I'm on Dragon's Den,
I'm sneering at desperate deluded men,
And I guess it's sort of funny,
As i've no idea how I've got so much money,

I was an actress, held a criminal practice,
Before being called to the bar,
I was an actor, temporary contractor,
Model and valet driver, blood and sperm provider,
I was a battery hen, sold my body now and then,




Little Nemo

Winsor McCay's "Little Nemo in Slumberland", a 1905 American Newspaper comic strip, is the inspiriration here (and perhaps to a greater extent Brian Bolland's "Little Nympho in Slumberland", as it's the same thing but with tits in it). The chorus, which appears to be nonsense, is actually a fairly literal transliteration of events in the comic strip: Nemo has a Lampwick-like pal named Flip who is constantly trying to wake Nemo up, to the extent that he wears a top hat with "Wake-up!" written on it.

There's a reference to "The Wizard of Oz" in there too. For some reason.

This is a Red Atlas song and the blistering opening salvo to the live set. It always sounded great.


Little Nemo

The tightly coiled bed-sheets,
I'm lost in my fever dream,
Counting leaping black sheep,
My thoughts as dirty as my sheets are clean,

Flip comes in his "wake-up" hat,
Flip comes in his "wake-up" hat,
Flip comes in his "wake-up" hat,
Get out of bed,

I'm hip to the hipnogogic,
Shapes and colours dance like dazzled rain,
I'm turned on with no off switch,
Will I ever feel this switched on again,

Flip comes in his "wake-up" hat,
Flip comes in his "wake-up" hat,
Flip comes in his "wake-up" hat,
Get out of bed,

Here comes the false memory,
Miss you, miss you, but I miss you most,
If it's water biscuits in heaven,
I'll take my chances with hot buttered toast,

Flip comes in his "wake-up" hat,
Flip comes in his "wake-up" hat,
Flip comes in his "wake-up" hat,
GET OUT OF BED!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Drink The Young Wine

Here's a Red Atlas song. It's difficult to date Atlas songs, they just sort of build bit by bit like silt deposits in an Ox-Bow lake. Or something else that I half remember from Geography lessons. This one is our "slowie" and has actually been played, never well, live. Our live set is usually fairly high-octane, as well as being discordant and too loud and lumpily all over the shop. It has all the hallmarks of a Red Atlas song: references to drinking, St. John of the Cross, Shakespeare and bad puns.

There is a notional set of references to the First World War but really it's about me. That's right I'm comparing the suffering of millions to my own depression. I'm not totally insensitive: I could have named it Spanish Flu.

The title is ripped off from the Surrealists. It's an homage. It's an homage.

Drink The Young Wine,


Though I still question it,
I still sometimes believe,
In the dark night of the soul,
Licking shadows can decieve,
Here's the burden of the proof,
Time to take the strain,
One hundred per cent proof,
The last drop I drain,

Drink the young wine,
Drink the long draft down,
Drink the young wine,
In the Malmsy butt you drown,

A telegram from over-seas,
Oh brother please just...stop,
We are lions lead by donkeys,
Or is that over the top,
Here's the burden of the proof,
Time to take the strain,
One hundred per cent proof,
The last drop I drain,

By the way,
Bide away,
In the sunlight of those endless hours, wasting

Soledad Miranda

This is a Petomane about, fairly obviously, Soledad Miranda, early muse of Jess Franco and star of such films as "Vampyros Lesbos" and "The Devil came from Akasava" (both excellent). She died in a car crash tragically early and was hypnotically beautiful. Less obviously this song is about my wife: the most astonishing woman I have ever met in pretty much every way.

Soledad Miranda

Soledad is back,
Eyes of black,
All "Death and the Maiden",
But which is she?
A witch is she, for sure,
Soledad attracts,
Snipe attacks,
As she walks through the restaurant,
They carp and spit,
She doesn't hear at all,
She's all alone,

Anybody else,
Would have felt,
Those poison darts falling,
But Miss Miranda,
Understands the world,
Soledad's detached,
What's the catch?
She's a dead woman walking,
This mortal coil,
Can't hope to spoil her day,
She's not here to stay,

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Boaster's Bar

This is Boaster's Bar another Club of Queer Trades song and written around the same time as The Hip Replacement Priest and like that song it comes out of that period where I was trying to write songs about London pub-life and barflies and dole uncles and that whole shabby no longer genteel milieu. I had been reading Dickens' "Sketches by Boz" at the time so there you have it - my literary antecedent is Charles Dickens. Obviously.

This was actually written in the King's Head in Crouch End a pub known for its thriving comedy scene and its comically truculent bar staff. In fact London bar staff has finally managed to kill off my enthusiasm for pubs. Better than hypnotherapy. Well done, rude pricks - you may have saved my life. Though I didn't ask you to!



Boasters’ Bar

Listen to me and I'll tell you about them all in here
No stone left unturned for the price of a pint of beer
The apogee of idiocy, you'll see more tits than Rigby and Peller
Like a petri-dish, it's a slice of life but with comedy in the cellar
I don’t know if you've realised this is a fashionable part of town
So keep your hands in your pockets and your valuables nailed down
There's an actor from the telly on his way back from the gym
Showily drinking Guinness until you notice him
He'll catch your eye, tut loudly, whisper something to the staff
And they'll all turn round to stare at you with a sycophantic laugh
I'm not sure who those hipsters are, could they be in a band?
They've an air of sneering confidence and they're dressed like Russell Brand
I'm not jealous of the fellas, but I hope they haven’t peaked
They've shifted seven units on i-tunes this week
This part of town is famous for theatrical residents
And here they are, at the bar, shy and hesitant
Three actresses in harem pants, dramatically ill-starred
Trying to pay for a small house-white with a fucking credit card
They bray, they coo, they whinny, they canter and they snort
They'd exit stage left pretty fast if they could read my thoughts

I don’t know who you think you are but I'm the star of the Boaster's Bar

There's a couple of T.V. folk; he's florid, she's not bright
But he keeps buying all the drinks and she's doing alright
Her days of being a runner are heading for the tape
If she calls it a career move you couldn’t call it rape
In the corner by the window, fairy-lighted in the rain
Two sallow men are sitting drawing up sketches of pain
They've an infant in the ice-box, a dog straining in the yard
They've killed a dozen men in here and never yet been barred

I don’t know who you think you are but I'm the star of the Boaster's Bar

Over in the booth and I promise it's the truth is the worst man you could ever hope to meet
He's a legend around here and before you get the fear be thankful you didn’t meet him in the street
His smile is like a shark’s and I'll tell you before you ask that not a single tooth of his is filled
He used to be a soldier and every sparkling molar is from the mouth of somebody he's killed
His eyes are black as night and his skin is deathly white and his body's dimpled with a thousand scars
He shaves with broken glass, living relatives are sparse and he drinks the fucking petrol out of cars

I don’t know who you think you are but I'm the star of the Boaster's Bar

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Whiskey Priest

This is a new one. The usual.

Whiskey Priest,

There's a virgin active by the hospice shop,
I see it all from here,
The bottle windows of this passenger steamer,
My eyes are ringed with beer,
Won't you join me for a drop,
A good six foot and then the slack,
A Pierrepoint presentation,
The Stella's got its groove back,

Not stopping, never staying;
The Spectator at the feast,
In the shadows I'm the chaser:
Please cal me the Whiskey Priest,

You say I'm weak, I know what's weaker,
The thread that holds it all in place,
Life hauled off like a hobbled streaker,
A coper cupping your disgrace,
I've never hidden behind this collar,
I hover over like a red balloon,
I bob and slobber in the air-con,
A waxy Wayne; a pink gin moon,

Not stopping, never staying;
The Spectator at the feast,
In the shadows I'm the chaser:
Please cal me the Whiskey Priest,

I'd rather have a bottle in front of me,
Than an embattled philosophy,
Time waits for no man in Heligoland,
Got paid in unkind and
I got laid in the same,
Next time I tell you it's all up front,
That's all I want,

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

What I did on my holidays

This is another Club of Queer Trades tune. It should be fairly obvious who it's about. Or you're not paying attention.


What I did on my holidays


I really used to stand for something
The desperate man with his tail trapped in the door
Now I’d sooner sit down with a cup of tea
I’m not fussed about standing anymore
I was so thin, skin translucent under arc-lights
Now I look like a mafia Don, on a transatlantic flight

I’ll write a song about Mexico
I’ll write a song about Rome
I’ll write a song about anywhere
As I no longer have a home
I’ve lost my sense of humour
And I’ve lost my sense of place
Now I just write about
What I did on my holidays

I was the King, I truly was the King
The face that lunched a thousand shits
My Karaoke road-show’s all go
I sing along to all my hits
I ran the show, each and every practise bon-mot
Reached the dizzy heights right? So how’d I ever get solo?

I’ll write a song about Mexico
I’ll write a song about Rome
I’ll write a song about anywhere
As I no longer have a home
I’ve lost my sense of humour
And I’ve lost my sense of place
Now I just write about
What I did on my holidays

How to describe the indie-scribe-able?
Devious, Truculent; Unreliable

Monday, 31 January 2011

The Static Age

This is a Petomane tune for the mooted second album "The Rock Machine Turns You On". It's actually a very old song that Kasch has stripped down and added some Martin guitar. I wanted to include a sample of Edward Woodward saying "Protected by the ejaculation of serpents?" but was shouted down as Kasch doesn't like vocal samples.(he liked them plenty on Fox Base Alpha one of the Petomane's ur-albums! One of our few bonding moments was on a fractious holiday in Portugal where the DJ "dropped" "Nothing Can Stop Us Now" by Saint Etienne)

I didnt take the opportunity of re-writing the lyrics to match the new tune!

The Static Age

Running through the Aquaduct
I got caught in a grating mesh,
I got my goat up I confess,
That's the modern age,
I'm static with rage,
This is the Static age,

Splitting a clementine,
To read the pith and juice within,
A process known as clemency,
I read nothing,
I'm static with rage,
This is the Static Age,

Crushing a serpent's head,
Beneath the tread of my puckered brogue,
Like mythology I've been told,
My shoes are ruined though!
I'm static with rage,
This is the Static Age

The Drunkest Man in the Room

This is another Club of Queer Trades "number" and therefore it was written in 2010 as I suspect all of them were. 2010 was a bumper year for me in terms of songwriting and personal devastation, writing upwards of 60 songs, most of them for The Club. Drinking is one of the mainstays of my ouvre and public and private drunkeness is one of my areas of expertise. Not that I'm an expert drinker my any means; I've always been rubbish at it, as I was at smoking when I gave that a go. I'm currently viceless, not even snuff at parties. This is why:



The Drunkest Man in the Room

I came here to party but the party's petered out
I'm drinking alone in the coat room
the hum of strangers; a strip of light under the door
I'll need another drink soon

A fat couple burst in from the party
she's flushed, he's amorous
I try to speak, slur my words, spill my drink
it's less than glamorous

Once again the drunkest man in the room
A fixed point, the party pivot
Always drinking to forget my life
And my failed attempts to live it

How much I drink, well, it's staggering
‘Round the room with my glass
Around the room with my top up
An own goal from a pretty pass

I'm John and I'm the party pole-star
My light is growing dim
Everybody navigates around me
"At least I'm not as pissed as him"

Once again the drunkest man in the room
A fixed point; the party pivot
Always drinking to forget my life
And my failed attempts to live it

I really like the flavour
I savour every drop
I like what drink does to me
I just can’t seem to stop
I've got a decent palette
And I can be a snob
I sleep upon the sofa
With wine stains around my gob
Once again the drunkest man in the room
A fixed point; the party pivot
Always drinking to forget my life
And my failed attempts to live it


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Tell them I said something

One of the neatest, most concise lyrics I've written and one of Martin's sweetest and simplest tunes - I love this one.

The title, of course, comes from Pancho Villa's famous last words: "Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something."



Tell them I said something

And if you find me, small and yellow
On a pillow
On some hospital ward that can’t afford
A working nursing staff
Tell them I had the last laugh

And tell them I said something

And if you ask me, semi-conscious
In a taxi
In sotto voice but sort of blotto
And maudlin in my cups
For heaven’s sake make something up

And tell them I said something

My Single Friend

This is a Red Atlas song and quite an early Red Atlas song. It's possibly still a staple of the theoretical Atlas live-set. It's necessarily a theoretical live-set as we haven't played now for nearly two years (can that be right? two years?). More than that we havent actually met each other en-mass since, I think, and I'm working sans diary here, last October. Now I have to take some responsibility for the former:I stropped off in a taxi after the last gig (third on the bill at the Legion in Old Street)in fully moody singer pomp. And I was right to do so: we had no soundcheck, nobody was in time or tune, the guitars were cranked-up so much that half way through the set the guy working the desk shrugged and sat down as there was no way to make the sond any better. The only person in the entire building who could hear me was me because my pr-eamp was working. I was in good voice!

It was a disaster and when I confronted the others about it they looked at me as if I had a small, lemon-coloured cat wedged behind my ear.The idea that the gig had not gone well was utterly alien to them. But then they are musicians: they have planks of wood and a wall of sound to hide behind. I am not, most assuredly I am not, a musician, but rather a red-faced, grey-haired, overweight man blithely miming through a selection of inaudible 80s indie songs, with the cheeks of Dizzy Gillespie and the auto-motive prowess of Bobby.

Things have rarely gone smoothly in the studio either. We've been in three times and have probably attempted an albums worth of material. I think there are perhaps three I'm "okay" with. This would be one of them.









My Single Friend,


My single friend,
Ticking like a cartoon bomb,
My ear-ache is now beyond repair,
My friends keep well away from me,
But my single friend, oh no, not my single friend,
My friends keep well down wind of me,
But not she, she won't let me alone,
My friends keep well down wind of me,
But not she, she won't let me alone,

My single friend,
A catalogue of woes,
She's teaching "Applied Neurosis 101"
My friends all shy away from me,
But my single friend? Not my single friend,
My friends cross the street when they see me,
But not she, she will not let me be,
My friends cross the street when they see me,
But not she, she won't let me alone,

My single friend,
What can it mean?
"His feet sweat, he really has to go!"
My friends burn photographs of me,
But my single friend? Not my single friend,
My friends stick pins in dolls of me,
But my single friend, not my single friend,
My friends stick pins in dolls of me,
But she, she will not let me be,
My friends stick pins in dolls of me,
But she, she will not let me be,

My single friend,
Tells me I'm,
Her straightest, gayest, straightest, gay best friend,
My friends stick daggers in my back,
Infamy, they've all got it in for me,
My friends burn me in effigy,
But she, she will not let me be,
My friends would remove me from history,
But not she, she'll always stick by me

Friday, 21 January 2011

Cell Phone & Celebrity Price Tag

I can't believe we live in a society where there is a consensus on the expression "celebrity price tag". Hello. These are two more songs for the mooted girl-band The Namedrops.

Cell Phoneis that staple of the tin pan alley/ hollywood teen experience - waiting for the telephone to ring. Blondie nailed this one of course with "Hanging on the telephone" and then, rather rudely, did it again with "Call me" . And of course there's the timeless classic "Clouds across the moon" by The Rah Band , giving the concept a much needed Sci Fi re-boot.

But I thought the time had come for another slightly duller and less inspired version. The title is, of course, a pun: the telephone has literally become a prison cell as she is waiting on a call, she is trapped and unable to function.

But obviously we're far sighted enough to have our eyes on the American market too.

Celebrity Price Tag is about my hatred of tabloid culture and the toxic overspill into other areas of life; advertising being an obvious choice. I find much of the modern world disgusting: from it's values, aspirations and cultural heroes to Ugg boots and tattoos popular entertainments. (whilst enjoying the availability of wireless-internet, disposable contact lenses and good food in pubs!)




Cell Phone

I'm in a mess
And my best party dress
I finally got into after 7 weeks
How could you go and do this
I look like a member of Kiss
My mascara running down my cheeks

O-oh oh maybe I got mixed signals
O-oh oh but you're so hard to figure
O-oh oh our date was a disaster
O-oh oh you didn’t call me after

You got me trapped like a prisoner
Hung up and alone
Waiting for your name on my cell phone, cell phone
You're on vibrate in my pocket
But you would never know
Cause I never see your name on my cell phone, cell phone

My friends all said
You'd leave me for dead
You've got a reputation follows you around
But I'm still in a state
Did i some how orchestrate
this communication break-down

O-oh oh maybe I got mixed signals
O-oh oh but you're so hard to figure
O-oh oh our date was a disaster
O-oh oh you didn’t call me after

You got me trapped like a prisoner
Hung up and alone
Waiting for your name on my cell phone, cell phone
You're on vibrate in my pocket
But you would never know
Cause I never see your name on my cell phone, cell phone

predictive text tells me next
time I'll do it all again
my phone thrown at the wall exactly as you call
tells me I've done it again

You got me trapped like a prisoner
Hung up and alone
Waiting for your name on my cell phone, cell phone
You're on vibrate in my pocket
But you would never know
Cause I never see your name on my cell phone, cell phone



Celebrity price tag

Tandooried in fake-tan
Tramp-stamp, thank you ma’am
Wicked-whispers and ugly rumours
You look like a panda drawn on a Satsuma
Leaking your sex-tapes
Selling your arsehole
Blinded by false lashes, driven by fame
Dancing up the greasy pole again and again

I don’t need the bag
Never read a fashion mag
Telling me what I should own?
I don’t think so
No celebrity price tag
No celebrity price tag no

Consumer consumptives
Presumably presumptuous
Papparazzi shoot you like they’re shooting fish
I’ve seen more culture in a Petri dish
Leaking your sex-tapes
Selling your arsehole
Blinded by false lashes, driven by fame
Dancing up the greasy pole again and again

I don’t need the bag
Never read a fashion mag
Telling me what I should own?
I don’t think so
No celebrity price tag
No celebrity price tag no

Forced to start necking the tabloidese
I feel sanatogen with these seven c’s:
Celebrity crack-den, caught out clubbing
Cancerous crotch rot, Conservative slumming
Our queen of hearts with a bun in the oven
Death by botox for the Grubb street coven

Grazia, nein danker yer wanker

I don’t need the bag
Never read a fashion mag
Telling me what I should own?
I don’t think so
No celebrity price tag
No celebrity price tag no

Short Man Blues & Fat Today

These too are jokes. Short Man Blues was written about a friend who, while claiming that she was desperately lonely and would try anything for love, maintained an aggressively heightist agenda. Men under 5'11" were simply not up for consideration.

Fat Today is me channeling my own woes through a "Loose Women" filter.

Short man blues

I’ve got the short man blues
I’m drowning myself in yellow fizzy booze
I’d cheer myself up with some impractical shoes
But then I’d tower over him

I’ve got short man syndrome something rotten
I’m Miss Woeful, Miss Wistful and Miss Begotten
A blue eyed boy in my bed seems somehow verboten
Replaced by something grim

Here comes another knee- high Napoleon
His bony-parts exposed, there’s no consoling him
Lying on his back on the linoleum
I’ll need to get out the vim


fat today

I felt fat today; it was hanging over my belt
How I wish, to paraphrase the bard
This solid flesh would melt

I pinch the flesh above my hip
Soft beneath my thumb and knuckle
I think I’ll join a gym, I muse
But pour a gin and then do fuck all

Come friendly bombs and fall on blokes
Their farting and their dirty jokes
The loo seat left up every time
Our partners in a life of grime

If we could break them in like horses
Send them off on umpteen courses
Till Stepford boyfriends were returned
Much humbled by lessons learned

Manicured and ripped and toned
Empathic skills all neatly honed
We’d learn to hate this new edition
We couldn’t stand the competition

Friday, 14 January 2011

That wasn't me (that was Stewart Lee)

This song is so new it doesn't even have a band or tune yet. It's been given to both Doug and Martin and I envision the verses sounding something like "North American scum" by LCD Soundsystem. But faster.

This a song born of jealousy really. Stewart Lee looks a bit like me (we're both ex-thin men with quiffs who have probably drunk more than is good for us) and he lives near me, he has simillar interests and likes a lot of the same music as I do. However he is almost universally acknowledged as the finest comedian of his generation and I am an anonymous sad-sack who can't get his book published. So, as you can see, I would seem to be motivated solely by jealousy.

And yet...

I can't even sustain even that level of bitterness, as the all too telling last verse records...

n.b. my first novel "A Devil in Camelot" is much better than Stewart's first (and to date only)novel "The Perfect Fool" and yet his, and only his, was published. This is because he is an award winning comedian with a proven fan-base and a television career stretching back almost two decades and the only time I've ever been on T.V. is when I was stopped by the cameras of "Thames Valley T,V." and asked about the mooted closure of Reading town centre's infamous "smelly alley".

Later that same day, on trying to buy a pair of shoes, I went to the cash machine and realised that I had completely forgotten my pin-number. It was just gone; forever. I had to ring the bank and ask for a new one and I never got the shoes.
This never happens to Stewart Lee who can afford expensive plastic surgery in order to render his pin-number handily on the back of his eyelids for safe and secure retrieval. He favours comic sans. But then he would.

That wasn’t me ( that was Stewart Lee)

Did I see you at the gig last night,
That wasn’t me that was Stewart Lee,
Alone at the bar and your jacket too tight,
That wasn’t me that was Stewart Lee,
You sneered and you snorted at every song,
That wasn’t me that was Stewart Lee,
And then went home before the main-act came on,
That wasn’t me that was Stewart Lee,

That wasn’t me that was Stewart Lee,
That wasn’t me that was Stewart Lee,

Did I see signing copies of your book,
That wasn’t me that was Stewart Lee,
The one that rambled on and on like a song without a hook,
That wasn’t me that was Stewart Lee,
Did I hear you got a second series on BBC2
That wasn’t me that was Stewart Lee,
Love all the rolling on the floor stuff that you do
That wasn’t me that was Stewart Lee

That wasn’t me that was Stewart Lee,
That wasn’t me that was Stewart Lee,

I look in the mirror and my face is a mess,
Stewart Lee haunts me like the ghost of success,
Like the same things, dress the same way, lives close by,
He’s a much better version of myself though I try and I try,

Did I hear you mostly wasted your time,
Yeah that was me not Stewart Lee,
Booze, broken bones and the search for semi-accurate rhymes,
Yeah that was me not stewart Lee,
Did I hear that you still don’t make any money,
Yeah that was me not Stewart Lee,
You’re a fat smart arse in a bad suit who thinks he’s funny,
Hey that both me and Stewart Lee,

That wasn’t me that was Stewart Lee,
That wasn’t me that was Stewart Lee,
That wasn’t me that was Stewart Lee,
That wasn’t me that was Stewart Lee,

The Hip Replacement Priest

This was written for The Club of Queer Trades. You can tell that really, I take time over the club songs because i can write them from scratch. with virtually all the other bands the music comes first and you sort of join the dots. this is an excellent way of working; a guide vocal gives you the timing, stresses, the syncopation and then you can go away and work backwards from that. When i'm working on Big Marker or KNOCK-KNOCK songs I'm singing them almost at the same time as hearing them so there is an immediacy and an energy to them: they're quite vivid. But with The Club I like to seat back in an armchair with a good single-malt and a loaded churchwarden and let the inspiration billow out of my nostrils.

The obvious reference for the song is The Fall's "Hip Priest" but really, lyrically it's a cross between Jarvis Cocker, Jake Thackray and the spoken word bits from Dexy's "Dont Stand Me Down" (specifically "What's she like" in the running to be one of my favourite ever songs).

The notion of making old people the vanguard of media culture is one that's close to my heart but it's a pipe-dream. Old people look funny.



The Hip Replacement Priest

A lot of people, they
Come up to me, they say
John, you’re a pretty cool guy
Well you must have been back in the day
I say “Sure, I had my moments
I wasn’t captain of the team, you understand
But the skinny boys, the readers
I took them by the hand
I told them what to read and why
And how to comb their hair
Which rock and roll bands were cool
And which of them were square
A long time ago and far away
There was a magic land
The sun was always shining so
Desert boots were in demand
There were feminists, vegetarians and hunting saboteurs
Seven inches, hand-pressed and dressed
Were always “de rigueur”
Fringes, badges and Crombie coats
Were non-gender specific
And no one ever had a fuck
But the wanking was terrific,
And I bestrode it like a colossus
They called me Iron John
Because of the solid principles
I built my empire on
But not any more friends
Fisherman’s caps no longer doffed
I’m super-annuated
My rep’s been pensioned off
My jowls have dropped like shopping
Beauty’s become the beast
My bed-side manner’s moribund
As the hip replacement priest

What is it, do you think
That first starts to go?
The first crack in the windscreen
First empty seats at the show
When did it first slip from my grasp
Could I place the date?
That I first tested my muscles
And found they couldn’t take my weight
I looked like I was off somewhere

Less crowded, dark and cramped
But the travelers’ cheques stayed in the drawer
The passport’s left unstamped
Now my thoughts are never sought
My opinions not required
I still get the odd enquiry
Like “Are you feeling tired?”
“Do you want a sit down?” “Shall I stick on the kettle?”
My carers all have tattoos
And their faces pierced with metal
I shift the tartan blanket
I rearrange my shawl
And think “I could have been the king
I could have had it all”
I’m swaddled in self-pity
Tight as a miser’s cigarette
But I don’t think it hasn’t happened
But that it hasn’t happened yet
I’ll reverse the polarities
I’ll turn things on their head
Popularise pot bellies
Eroticise the wed
They’ll colour their hair grey
With a dye called “Just for Boys”
They’ll be tutting at the live shows
Asking to turn down the noise
Hand-brake turns at the whist drive
They’ll swap the crack den for the snug
The only stimulant sanctioned is
An ounce of ready rubbed
Cardigans and crosswords
Youthful beauty lined with age
It’s not your cataracts; it’s dry ice
As I appear onstage
I’m seated in a rocking chair
Dressed in corduroy and tweed
At my feet sit leggy lovelies
All pretending to take heed
The orchestra starts to swell and
Once the applause has ceased
I croon my theme; my anthem:
The Hip Replacement Priest







http://www.myspace.com/clubofqueertrades